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The Last Straw Posts

JaDa – Day 29

As though the ‘Monday-after-a-long-weekend’ wasn’t enough, it is annoyingly rainy here. It doesn’t pour like in Kerala, nor is it to okay to just head outside. The chilly weather and the ice cold drizzle was a total spoiler of the morning. It didn’t even feel like it’s worth the effort to even get up from the bed. And mornings like today call for a book to start with. Sitting with a cup of coffee (not so bitter, since I made it myself) and a book, there’s a new hope that filled up for the rest of the day. And amazingly so, a lot happened today in terms of research.

Is this even anything more than a stupid diary? I really wanted a travelogue!

JaDa – Day 28

Often, all you need is a cup of coffee and a book to read. But here I am with a cookie milkshake (because the coffee is too bitter here) and a person to talk to (because a book can wait, not a person)! So me and the person, obviously Divya, set out for an evening walk because there’s unnecessary excitement (quoting her!). I should probably drop the ‘ivya’ and just call her D. It’s redundant and boring, because everyday I invariably have something to write about her. Anyway, we found this new cafe/patisserie near Friend Mart; a pretty calm and relaxing place to spend a great evening. It’s been a while since some quality time, and today was one such. After the routine visit to the store there, we headed back home. It’s a Monday tomorrow. And at that, one after a long weekend!

JaDa – Day 27

Well, isn’t it quite dull and drab these days that I have nothing interesting to write about? Same old, same ol’ things about dull drab days. Perhaps, the whole fuss about staying indoors for the Golden Week was a bad decision. A break was needed, but this feels just too long. Hope, at least tomorrow gets interesting enough to write a couple of more lines on!

JaDa – Day 26

Japan is more beautiful in the morning. At least, Kyoto is. Somedays back, I thought the evenings are beautiful. Evenings are when I see people around, when the hue of the Sun make a picturesque sky, when the kids are out to play, when the wind is breezy and welcoming. Yet I think Japan is more beautiful in the morning. At least Kyoto is. At least this place that I live in, is.  The mornings are calm and cleansing, with the early rising Sun, the scenic misty mountains, the chilly breeze. Oh wait, that’s exactly the problem! Why is it so shivering cold?! My morning walk lasted a day and never did I go again. One, because I sulk a lot. Two, and majorly because it’s freezing cold. I wish it was more warmer. Or maybe, I should just wish I be less dramatic and sulking about it!

JaDa – Day 25

The Golden Week holidays finally began for us, and that meant we just stayed in the hostel, cuddling the laptop and phone, in our own rooms. I wonder what’s the right balance. If there’s work, there’s too much of it that we don’t have time for anyone, let alone oneself. If there’s no work, then there’s too less of it that we sulk and curl into a ball. By we, I mean me. Or is it really just me?

JaDa – Day 24

Food food everywhere, not a bit to eat – this is my normal emotion here. Ever since we discovered the online grocery delivery place, I have been all excited for Kerala Porotta and more food. And finally, the parcel arrived today! And I had porotta the crisp and hand swirled multi layer bread! An otherwise dull may be cheered up by a tiny morsel of food; at least for me, it works so easy that way.

JaDa – Day 23

Out of the blue, I found me and Divya sitting in a bus to Minami Kusatsu for no real reason. All good so far, as we went around the place, explored some shops, got some food – all good. And like normal people, we got into a bus back to hostel. Like normal people, again, we didn’t fuss about whether it would take us to our destination until we realised that it won’t! When we were the last people in the bus, finally it felt like a good time to talk to the driver. It was all Japanese versus English, and we rested our case by repeating ‘Ritsumeikan, Ritsumeikan’. Poor guy seemed to understand that it was pointless to say anything more, and asked us to sit down. He drove in silence and took us to the nearest possible point in his route, and stopped the bus. We took on the cue and showered him with Arigato as we got down. We walked back to the hostel through the campus. In the backdrop of a calm moonlit night, the campus looked more beautiful than ever. And I wondered if we could just stay at the campus overnight, and work from here. I like it when our thoughts sync, like this one!

JaDa – Day 22

As though one day’s rest wasn’t enough, I woke up sick today. I didn’t want to move a limb, let alone get up from the bed. Such days are awesome when at home. But here at a new place, with nobody to talk to, with nothing to do, I felt like I was caged by my own body. It was a dull tiring boring day, until Divya showed up in the evening. By then, I had enough energy to get up from bed and move around. And I sat down talking to her. I now relate to a lot of people, who have had most of their lives just waiting for someone to return home and have human company.

JaDa – Day 21

After the long day yesterday, we all slid into our comfort zones for today. The routine continued – some washing, some cooking, some cleaning. It was a plain simple day and the lull had begun to set in. And then Vidya calls me and reminds me how ‘boring’ I am. She makes fun of me how I have more of amma in me, who was apparently doing the same washing and cleaning and cooking. Kids these days! 🙂

JaDa – Day 20

Weekend again and we planned another trip; this time to Nara – the deer park. Getting to Kyoto, we took another train to Nara without much hassle. It was a reasonable long journey, in a fairly crowded train. We didn’t get nearby seats and I sat with three women, apparently a daughter-mother-grandmother trio. In less than five minutes, with no language whatsoever, they struck a rapport and offered cherry blossom candy to me. And in return, I offered them Kaccha Mango bites. Them, as me, were surprised by the new taste. The oldest of the ladies was very excited to talk to me, and she did; but all in Japanese. It was less awkward and more fun trying to tell her that I had no idea what’s happening in the conversation.

After a 45-minute journey, we reached Nara station. Gathering enough info from the tourist information counter, we set out to see the deers in and around Todaiji Temple and the famous Buddha shrine.  The UNESCO World Heritage Site was a sight of awe and admiration. The 50 meter tall shrine of Buddha was more close to heart, after the briefing by our guide, Taka. Taka, a nice gentleman who appeared to be in his late 50s or more, took us around the place and explained the history of the temple. From him, we learnt that Nara was once the capital of Japan, and that the stone pavement in front of the temple had a story, and also that India was a dominant part in the shared history of the two countries.

I have never felt so proud to be an Indian as I now feel in a foreign land, where I go crazy about the Indian stones in the pavement, about the sculpture that resembles Lord Krishna, about the Sanskrit writings inside the temple, and a lot more. I went so crazy that I started randomly talking to a lady. She was looking at the lantern on which was the sculpture that resembled Lord Krishna. And I felt ‘obliged’ to let her know the possible Indian connection of the lantern! It was then I was first confronted about the ‘mysterious’ tattoo-like thing on my forehead. She wondered if my bindi was perhaps the third eye; popular belief goes something like, Buddha’s third eye is where the cosmic light originates from. I was baffled by the unexpected question, but all the more wanted to explain about Lord Shiva and the third eye as well. Thanks to Divya for stopping me from going out of control!

It was deers everywhere, and also were the sign boards that said that deers are wild animals. Honestly, I was scared. I didn’t want to linger around much. I tried and walked past a crazy lot of deers, as Divya and Saikat stayed back and fed the deers some rice crackers. That’s when I got my hands on the cherry blossom ice cream. Sakura is a fad, and yet I fall for it! It tasted good, but not awesome special! Perhaps, that’s the last time I fall for Sakura.

With a brief little shopping, we called it a day at Nara and took the train back to Kyoto. Meanwhile, I found a French cafe finally at Nara station. I have been looking for one since I somehow hope to find something vegetarian to eat at a place that’s not authentic Japanese. I am glad I did, and I hope to find more of ‘Vie de France’ in Japan! My food happiness rose to a whole new level at Kyoto station, when we found a store that sold MTR ready-to-eat aviyal! My faith of survival has been reinstated, once again!